|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Siachen pilferage: Army served final notice
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi | December 26, 2007 17:53 IST
After allegedly failing to cooperate with the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] police, the army was served with a final notice to produce its officers and jawans for questioning in connection with the alleged pilferage of food and clothes meant for troops on the Siachen glacier.
This is the third and final notice and after this the police will approach a court for issuing non-bailable warrants against the officials besides seeking a direction to the army for providing details about the scam, official sources said.
Defence Minister A K Antony had informed Parliament earlier this month that after an internal probe by the army into the pilferage scam, the authorities had initiated administrative action against three officers and three junior commissioned officers.
The entire scam came to light after the police found special rations meant for soldiers serving in the Siachen glacier being sold in open market.
Immediately, police wanted to question some of the officials including one of the rank of brigadier stationed at the Leh-based 14 corps.
Officials in the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department said the army top brass had assured cooperation once its inquiry was completed.
Now that their inquiry report is over, neither has the report been handed over to the police nor have the officials been handed over for questioning, senior officials said.
The army had filed a complaint against Leh's Senior Superintendent of Police Alok Kumar for his alleged aggressive attitude towards its personnel deployed in the Himalayan town located in north Kashmir, a charge vehemently denied by the state government.
An IPS officer of 1997 batch, Kumar was instrumental earlier in alleged petrol and diesel scams, where few army officials allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with petrol dealers and sold the oil in open market while filling the tankers with water.
In the present case, the police have registered 11 FIRs since July 2007 after finding food packets and other equipment meant for Siachen being sold in the open market but the army has refused to cooperate in the probe.
Police arrested 31 people, including shopkeepers, in various areas in this Himalayan town located in north Jammu and Kashmir.
Police registered the first FIR against shopkeepers and unknown army officers under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code related to cheating.
A few of them have made confessional statements before magistrates, during which they named senior army officers who allegedly supplied the materials to them, they said.
The police seized boots and trousers at a time when the army's high command and the defence ministry are running from pillar to post to meet the requirements of troops in Siachen.
The local command too had made a requisition for the special high altitude gear needed by the soldiers.
Recently, army rations including high-calorie food items meant for soldiers defending the borders in inhospitable terrain were found on sale in the markets of Leh.